Aug 12

Posters and Prints Ready

By David Scifres Family, Fun, Photography, Photos Comments Off on Posters and Prints Ready

We finally have the prints and posters ready to share digitally. Because we only had 1920 x 1080 pixels to work with on our prints, we had to take a collage approach for the 20″ x 30″ and 24″ x 36″ sizes. To tie it all together, we used the new NASA Blue Marble shot as the background for the posters and included prints from our mission on top. We think they came out really great!

Depending on the poster size and style there are between 8 and 12 shots from the mission on the posters. All posters and prints are autographed. We are giving you links to 3 different kinds of posters and 3 sizes of prints (2 different pictures). The team selected the poster with the film strips as our favorite. We ordered samples of all print sizes this week and they should be in this coming week or the following at the latest.

Below is the team’s favorite poster.

There is also this version.

And this version

Here is the 5″ x 7″ Version A

And 5″ x 7″ version B

Below is a link to all sizes and versions of the prints and posters. You can download them from this photo set by clicking on the image you like and then “Actions” directly above the picture on the top left, then drop down to “View All Sizes” – pick “original” size to download the highest resolution.

We really hope you like these.

Aug 05

Results & Time Lapse of Launch

By David Scifres Family, Fun, Life, Photography Comments Off on Results & Time Lapse of Launch

The time lapse below covers the launch of the Terra Incognita weather balloon compressing a 2 hour and 15 minute time frame to just over 3 minutes. We added some footage from 120,000 feet (just seconds before the balloon burst) to the front of the time lapse just so you can see what it looked like. We will be making another video over the course of the next few weeks covering the entire project that will have more aerial footage.

We are very pleased to share the results of our first mission to the stratosphere with these amazing pictures captured on our journey to the edge of space and back. The images below start with the release of the balloon all the way to landing in the trees. Our flight began just outside Bowling Green, Kentucky (11:45 A.M.) and touched down in the woods behind Amazing Grace Community Church in Lafayette, Tennessee (2:02 P.M.) over an hour away. The flight lasted about 2:17 minutes – about 1:17 up and 1:00 down. We arrived on site around 2:50 P.M. and had the payload in our possession by 3:50 PM. Click on the thumbnail images below to load each image individually.

To download the entire set as one zip file please click here.

The zip file is 34 MB so it might take a few minutes to download depending on the speed of your internet connection. The pictures print out very nicely at 8 1/2″ x 11″ or smaller. I recommend printing them to fit the page and then trimming off the white margins on the top and bottom. I also recommend using glossy photo paper for the best results.

To see a slide show of the best in flight pictures go here:

If you want to see a photo set of all the pictures from the entire project go here:

Jul 29

WE DID IT!! Pictures from the edge of space.

By David Scifres Family, Fun, Photography Comments Off on WE DID IT!! Pictures from the edge of space.

Well, we took a risk and launched today even though the weather pattern was pushing us further south and east than we wanted. The risk was that it would end up in a forested area in a tree . . . . and it did. But somehow we found it, without cell signal to power our GPS even. What an AMAZING journey and we owe a special thanks to all our backers at for helping make this dream come true – words can’t express how we all feel right now.

The curvature of the earth in the shot below is exaggerated somewhat due to the wide angle of the lens. We will try and fix that (but not all of it) after we research how to correct lens distortion in Photoshop.

Below is the predicted flight path. We got started 2 hours late due to the lengthy fill time of the balloon and the winds were much stronger because of the delay pushing us off the original prediction. You should plan 2 hours to fill it if you ever try and do this yourself. We used for the model. Click the image below to enlarge it and then click the back arrow to come back to this page.

Here is a shot of us filling the balloon. It reached 118,000 feet before bursting and falling back to earth. Had a lot of help from the parents of Anna’s friends. Mini’s dad help me a bunch with the balloon and spent the day with us on the chase. Lexi’s grand father helped us get the remaining helium we needed without which we could not have launched.

We launched at 11:45 Central time. The balloon was moving too fast for the SPOT meter to get a lock to send a GPS location the entire flight. I hadn’t counted on that. It was a very helpless feeling but we remained confident and were rewarded with a location at 2:02 P.M. within 13 minutes of our total flight time of 2:30. The bad news was, as we learned it was farther away and in the woods. We headed out and got to the location at about 2:50 P.M.

The bad news was that from about 30 minutes from the landing site, we had no cell coverage. So all we had was a rough area to work from behind a church in the woods. We went about 100 yards into the woods and started searching and Mini spotted the parachute about 100 yards from that location. What luck (for the location) and keen eyesight.

It appeared to be about 20-30 feet in the air from where we stood. But after three of us hacked our way further though the woods, it turned out to be on a ridge opposite our ridge and within hand reach. We were able to simply grab it and pull it down enough to cut it loose from the parachute making lots of young ladies and their families very happy. We had some amazing luck help us along today.

The team was holding the payload by 3:50 this afternoon. Upon inspecting the payload everything appeared to be just fine and we headed home.

Everything went perfect with this flight except one thing, the high res digital camera didn’t take pictures. It sounded like it was taking pictures and you can even hear it in the video every 5.5 seconds. But, it had no SD card in it. So the pictures we have are still shots pulled from the HD footage. These are fine for 8×10 photos and even up to 16×20 but might not reproduce well above that. I take full credit for the mistake, in my prep I cleaned the SD cards of all the cameras and forgot to put the last one back in. I check the camera and it fired just fine when the shutter was pressed . . . . no indication of the lack of SD card.

Here are a couple more shots from about 118,000 feet. I’ve pulled almost 100 shots tonight but have only had time to color correct a few. Click the image below to enlarge it and then click the back arrow to come back to this page.

I’ll be producing a video of the entire project. I’ll post here once it is complete.


Feb 20

2011 Adventure Book

By David Scifres Books, Family, Fun, Life, Photography Comments Off on 2011 Adventure Book

The 2011 Adventure Book is complete and ordered. It wasn’t done until April last year so much more timely this year. This year’s version is slightly smaller than last year at 320 pages and 619 photos. Now, on to taxes, ugh.

Jan 21

Day 21 – Dragons, Monsters and Beasts, Oh My!

By David Scifres Family, Fun, Photography Comments Off on Day 21 – Dragons, Monsters and Beasts, Oh My!

Leah and her friend Sailor enjoy a pop-up book together during a sleepover tonight. The book is Dragons & Mosters by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda.

Jan 18

Day 17 – Bury Me Beneath The Weeping Willow Tree

By David Scifres Family, Fun, Photography Comments Off on Day 17 – Bury Me Beneath The Weeping Willow Tree

It doesn’t get much better than this down home song on my Victrola. In case you have never heard this song, here is a very nice version by Allison Krauss and Lyle Lovett:

Jan 15

Day 15 – Nimbus 200 (model prior to the 2000)

By David Scifres Fun, Photography, Photos Comments Off on Day 15 – Nimbus 200 (model prior to the 2000)

If you guys see Sarah flying by please tell her it is past her bedtime and time to come home for the evening before her broomstick runs out of gas. This first picture is her friend Katie. This one had better color so ran with it. The one of Sarah was under exposed and had some issues so I converted it to B&W to salvage it.

Jan 12

Day 12 – Isle of Lewis Chessmen

By David Scifres Fun, Photography, Photos Comments Off on Day 12 – Isle of Lewis Chessmen

This is a reproduction set of the Isle of Lewis Chessmen (or Uig Chessmen). It is the earliest know chess set. Discovered in 1831 in Scotland, a total of 78 pieces were recovered including 8 kings, 8 queens, 16 bishops, 15 knights, 12 rooks and 19 pawns. The heights of the pawns range from 3.5 to 5.8 cm while the major pieces are between 7 and 10.2 cm. It is believed they were probably made in Norway, by craftsmen in the 12th century. They are owned and exhibited by the British Museum in London, which has 67 of the original pieces, and the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, which has the remaining 11 pieces. Sarah, in 4th grade now, joined the chess club this year and I can’t wait to play a game with her using this set. The board arrives next week! 🙂

Jan 08

Day 8 – Treats for Pepe

By David Scifres Fun, Photography, Photos Comments Off on Day 8 – Treats for Pepe

This afternoon Leah, Sarah and I went to share some treats with the horses down the street. We were hoping to see King and Tinkerbell but instead we found only Pepe. He was whinnying at the fence when we arrived and kept it up until he realized what we had at which point he trotted over to investigate. We shared some apples and carrots with him and I think he must have appreciated it because it struck a very nice pose fore me afterward. Thanks Pepe!

Jan 02

Day 2 – Sands of Time

By David Scifres Fun, Photography, Photos Comments Off on Day 2 – Sands of Time

I love the hour glass with black sand that has been sitting on my desk since I started working here. I can’t believe it took me this long to take a picture of it. The trees outside my window and the gray sky made the perfect monochromatic backdrop for the picture. I used my iPhone 4 to take the shot. If I had my 5D I would have been able to capture the sand frozen in space.

Nov 14

Training Tinkerbell

By David Scifres Fun, Video Comments Off on Training Tinkerbell

Anna Scifres and Lexi Stewart attempt to train Tinkerbell, a miniature horse, to jump barrels. They are joined by Sarah and Leah Scifres as well as Sarah’s friend Katie Levesque.

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Aug 28

Anna’s Class Project

By David Scifres Fun Comments Off on Anna’s Class Project

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Aug 14

Artist Maia Madison

By David Scifres Fun, Photography, Video Comments Off on Artist Maia Madison

Maia Madison from David Scifres on Vimeo.

I got my 5D this Friday YEAH!!! I had been taken aback by my oldest daughters friend Maia Madison’s artistic ability on her Nintendo DS. The new camera, coupled with my desire to learn Adobe Premiere, led to this video. When Maia came over to visit, I could not resist the opportunity to try and capture the creative work she had done. Not bad for my first real video attempt.

Jul 26

Chicago 2011

By David Scifres Family, Fun, Photography, Photos, Travel Comments Off on Chicago 2011
Ferris wheel on Navy PierIMG_9544   Chicago from the Field Museum
IMG_9589IMG_9611American Girl Tea Time IMG_0649IMG_0650
Anna and Lanier at American Girl TeaIMG_0667Chicago - American Girl Doll IMG_0662Sarah and Lilly
Mmmmmm.....Chicago - Anna and Sarah on Water Taxi IMG_9615Anna and Sarah at Navy PierIMG_0673

Chicago 2011, a set on Flickr.

As promised I took Anna and Sarah to Chicago for the weekend. We had a blast. We purchased a CityPass which got us in the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Art Institute, the SkyWalk at the top of Sears tower and the Science and Technology building (which we didn’t make it to). The hit of the trip as it turns out was Navy Pier as well as tea at the American Girl Doll store.

Jun 30

Las Vegas June 2011

By David Scifres Fun, Photography, Photos, Travel Comments Off on Las Vegas June 2011
IMG_0436IMG_0467IMG_0458IMG_0459BIMG_0333Hoover Dam from Lake Meade

Vegas June 2011, a set on Flickr.

Jun 14

One of Leah’s First Dives

By David Scifres Family, Fun, Video Comments Off on One of Leah’s First Dives

_IMG_0014, originally uploaded by mdscifres.

Leah dove off the board for the first time the day before this video was shot. I used the 8mm app to give it the old school look.

May 18

The World’s Best Homemade Chicken Marinade

By David Scifres Cooking, Diet, Recipes Comments Off on The World’s Best Homemade Chicken Marinade

Brining the chicken is a MUST because it seems to help make the chicken juicier. To brine, first mix 4 cups of cold water with ¼ cup of kosher salt and ¼ cup of brown sugar. Stir until dissolved. Wash and put the boneless, skinless chicken strips in a gallon size zip-lock bag and pour the brine mixture in the bag and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. Now, it is time to make the marinade.

Marinade ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Juice from one lemon or lime (whichever you prefer – mixing both is tasty too)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 8 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup of Heinz 57 sauce
  • 1/2 cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup A-1 Marinade
  • Tabasco to taste
  • 4 tsp flaked red pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Remove the chicken strips from the brine and rinse and pat dry with a paper towel. Submerge the chicken strips in the homemade marinade (you can use a Tupperware type bowl with a lid, a zip-lock bag or for best results a Vacuvin Marinater) and refrigerate a minimum of 4 to 6 hours. Please note it is best to let them soak in the marinade overnight. You should set aside some of the marinade to baste the chicken breasts when cooking. Remove and grill. And that’s pretty much it. Good luck and you won’t be disappointed!

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Apr 28

Spring Break 2011

By David Scifres Family, Fun, Photography, Photos Comments Off on Spring Break 2011

Spring Break 2011, a set on Flickr.

Testing out the share link from FLickr

Nov 21

Brie en Croute

By David Scifres Recipes Comments Off on Brie en Croute

I tried my first Brie en Croute this weekend. It was absolutely delicious and clearly not on my diet.


  • Package Puff Pastry Sheets
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberry, softened
  • 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 1 (13.2 ounce) round Brie cheese
  • Crackers


  1. Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix egg and water.
  2. Unfold pastry sheet on lightly floured surface. Roll into 14 inch square. Cut off corners to make a circle. Spread preserves to within 1 inch of pastry edge. Sprinkle cranberries and almonds over preserves. Top with cheese. Brush edge of circle with egg mixture. Fold two opposite sides over cheese. Trim remaining two sides to 2 inch from edge of cheese. Fold these two sides onto the round. Press edges to seal. Place seam-side down on baking sheet. Decorate top with pastry scraps if desired. Brush with egg mixture.
  3. Bake 20 minutes or until golden. Let stand 1 hour. Serve with crackers.
Nov 20

Soccer Season – Fall 2010

By David Scifres Fun, Life Comments Off on Soccer Season – Fall 2010

Check out these cool trading cards Sarah’s coach Ron Demarse made for the girls. This was Leah’s first soccer season. She spent more time trying to fetch the ball from the net and playing in the grass than anything else. Ann sat out the fall season but the picture on her card was from the spring while playing goalie. Sarah played goalie for the first time this season and I found it made me nervous.

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